Movie Review: Rapido y Furioso Subtitulada en Espanol
By Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune Movie Critic
If you're in the mood for a lot of vroom, vroom, thump, thump, "Fast & Furious," the fourth edition of that metal-twisting series, should leave you satiated for a very long time.
"The Fast and the Furious" pit crew, or most of it, is back, led by Vin Diesel's Dom - all ripped muscles and fast cars and evil deeds. He's as enigmatic as ever, and still with girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), the only one who's ever been able to push past Dom's "auto" erotic zone to touch that slow-beating heart of his. It takes a tragedy to pull rogue FBI agent Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) back into Dom's life, and Brian realizes he still has a real soft spot for Dom's sister Mia (Jordana Brewster), looking more than ever like a young Demi Moore.
It is no small irony that this righteous ode to muscle cars comes to theaters just as the U.S. auto industry is imploding, in part because automakers, too, were attached to the memory of what was. All of which turns "Fast & Furious" into a strange piece of nostalgia in which fast cars still rule and fuel is burned with abandon.
Director Justin Lin - he of the beautiful moving metal of "Tokyo Drift," the one redeeming aspect of No. 3 in the franchise - infuses the necessary full-throttle bits with a dynamic lyricism, trusting absolutely in the hypnotic power and beauty of strength and movement. "Fast & Furious" picks up Dom's story in the Dominican Republic, where he's apparently been sitting out the series since the first film ended with him heading for the Mexico border. Dom, Letty and a new crew are boosting oil tanks, taking them right off the cabs as they're heading to market at 100-plus mph on pockmarked roads perched on the edge of deadly drop-offs high above the Caribbean. It's been a good run for Dom, but one that is about to end with law enforcement hot on his heels.
A quick plot twist and a few fast cuts and we're back in L.A., where it all began. At the center of the action is a ruthless Mexican drug lord who is running a high-stakes operation with the fastest drivers he can find, moving product across the border, caravan style, at 200 mph.
Dom and the FBI, with Brian driving their fleet, want to bring him down but for different reasons. What happens next isn't really important as long as you know there are a series of extreme and extended demolition derbies - countless cars gave their lives to make this movie possible.
As much as metal rules in "Fast & Furious," it would be almost nothing without Diesel, as Universal found out when the studio tried to re-create the magic without him. Facing off against a psychopath with endless depths of fury, Diesel is always implacable, unreadable. He just ... is. Yet somehow his apparent absence of malice is reassuring; because you just know, no matter what, he will punch the clock, he will get the job done.
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual content, language and drug references).
Running time: 1:47.
Starring: Vin Diesel (Dom); Paul Walker (Brian); Jordana Brewster (Mia); Michelle Rodriguez (Letty); John Ortiz (Campos).
Directed by Justin Lin; written by Chris Morgan; produced by Neal Moritz, Diesel and Michael Fottrell. A Universal release.